Skip to content

Michael Stipe Has Two Krazy Kat Tattoos and More Unlikely Confessions

Michael Stipe / Photo by Getty Images

As any dedicated R.E.M. fan with a web presence probably knows by now, Michael Stipe has used his long-standing expertise in the visual arts to become somewhat of a Tumblr god. Now that he doesn’t have any music videos to direct or album art to select, he’s taken his eye to the microblogging site, which acts as, in his words, as “essentially [his] electronic scrapbook”: “You know, it’s like a stamp collection, but everyone’s allowed to cull from each other’s collection.”

As Spinner points out, Bullett magazine decided to actually talk to him about it, and the conversation that ensued brought to light some pretty awesome tidbits that shed light on what page he’s been on in the year or so since R.E.M. called it quits. Here are five things we learned:

  • His Tumblr account is an extension, somewhat, of, which is “made up of screen grabs that I took throughout 2009. I think it loops itself back after 22 minutes; 10,000 or so still images animated to create a moving image.” (Seriously, click on that. It’s NSFW and a little seizurey, but incredible nevertheless.)
  • He’s got three tattoos, only one of which is not based on the Krazy Kat comic strip.
  • He hates Google, because “their policies, like Facebook, are offensive.” He prefers Yahoo! or Bing.
  • He “doesn’t have a problem” with people wanting to look at an art video he posted of himself getting dressed, even if it’s just to see his, er, little Stipe.
  • He refers to his Tumblr presence as “etherwork”: “it’s kind of floating around in the ether and these ideas land on a bunch of people at the same time, and I’m one of those people…It’s maybe a solution-based collective unconscious, whatever that means.”

We wonder, in light of this conversation, what Stipe might have to say about his band’s label shutting down a fan’s online archive last month — just part of the ether, maybe? Read the rest of the interview here, if only to find out what incredible stuff he has to say about Susan Sontag and GIF culture.